Labyrinth: Spiritual Connection Through Walking Within

Labyrinth: Spiritual Connection Through Walking Within November 27, 2019

Last Summer, I had the opportunity to walk a labyrinth. I’d always wanted to experience what one of these structures has to offer but never made the time. Unsure what to expect, I found the journey to be fascinating as I moved from the mundane world into the spiritual with every step.

Labyrinth
Image by Hans Braxmeier via pixabay.com

Labyrinths in History

A labyrinth combines the imagery of a circle and a spiral to form an irregular, meandering path toward a central location. The design has been appearing in caves, on coins and pottery, and as turf or stone structures from as early as the Stone or Bronze Ages.

Traditional labyrinths have the entrance/exit at the bottom, while a separate, radial style show the entrance/exit at the top. Prehistoric or ancient labyrinths may have been used in sacred dance and ritual. Roman labyrinths appear at the entrance of buildings which could have had a  function of protection or been meant to symbolize a sacred path to deity.

Medieval Christian labyrinths appeared both in church entrances and on the sanctuary floors. Although their purpose is unclear, they could have been used in Easter rituals with penitents following the labyrinth on their knees or been designed as protection from demons. In India, there is a belief that labyrinths are the refuge of a trickster spirit and that the demon Ravana rules over labyrinths. My experience with Hekate in the labyrinth is, in large part, why my practice with Her is now devotional.

 

Labyrinth
Image by 3177 via pixabay.com

Labyrinths Today

The design is still used for  spiritual practice. Walking the long, serpentine path toward the center allows a person to quiet their mind, focus on a spiritual question, engage in prayer, chant or meditation, ask a deity for guidance, or breathe and just be in the moment.

To walk a labyrinth is to journey into your deepest self or the “other realm” and find what you need for spiritual connection, balance, healing, clarity, etc. The labyrinth journey isn’t for everyone. One must be able to step onto the path with an open, receptive mind and spirit, allowing intuition, feeling, creative visualization or imagery to take you on the journey. This is not always a comfortable experience but it can be a healing or deeply satisfying one.

During my time in the labyrinth, I reached out to Hekate to guide me through the serpentine pathways. As I walked, my consciousness shifted so that while aware of the physical world, my spirit traveled through the depths of the underworld to Hekate’s cave. And while I’ve made my way there in my mind’s eye through meditation in the past, the physical act of walking the labyrinth took the experience to a deeper level.

Labyrinth
Image by Jennifer Bayers via pixabay.com

To Walk A Labyrinth

If you have the opportunity to walk a labyrinth (or do so on an astral level through guided meditation), then I encourage you to do so, as long as you are emotionally and spiritually able to attempt the journey. There are no set rules or rituals you must follow but here are a few tips to consider:

  • Stand at the entrance and breathe for a moment. Prepare your mind and spirit for the experience.
  • Take small, measured steps, focusing your eyes a few feet ahead as you walk the path. Do not look anywhere other than in front of your feet, as the spiral pathway of a labyrinth can become disorienting.
  • Do not rush. There is no time limit on your experience.
  • Calm and clear your mind. Chant or pray if this is helpful for entering a meditative or trance-like state.
  • Stop, if you need to, at any point on the path. Reflect on what you are feeling or sensing as you stand there.
  • If you become confused or overwhelmed, just breathe. If you need to call out to the guardian-helper for assistance, then do so.
  • Do not walk a labyrinth without a guardian-helper at the entrance, especially if it is your first time.
  • Bring to mind a spiritual question as you walk or allow your mind to drift.
  • Upon reaching the center, take the time to pause and reflect, pray, listen for an answer to your question or wait for a deeper revelation. You can also use this time to meditate, ground, and center if that is what you need.
  • When you are ready to leave, follow the path step by step back to the entrance, allowing yourself to experience whatever the return journey brings to you.

Once you’ve stepped out of the labyrinth, take some time to reflect on your experience. This is a good time to journal (if that’s a thing you do). Also, get something to eat or drink to bring yourself back to the here and now.

About
Gwyn is one of the hosts of 3 Pagans and a Cat, a podcast about the questions and discussions between three pagan family members, each exploring different pagan paths and how their various traditions can intersect. The most practiced pagan on the path, Gwyn is a Modern Hekataen-Green Witch, Devotee of the Covenant of Hekate, and Clairsentient Medium. She loves working with herbs, essential oils and plants. In the past, she has been a musician, teacher, and published author. Now, together with Car and Ode, Gwyn is a teacher/presenter at multiple Pagan events, and loves to chat about witchcraft, spiritual things, and life in general. You can read more about the author here.

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  • Pitch313

    If you are fortunate enough to find a labyrinth in your vicinity (some are well-known, even advertised,
    others not so much), walking them can enrich and deepen your practice. Some labyrinths are designed
    and constructed to align with and even highlight Earth energies of the area where the labyrinth turns.
    A small labyrinth in Lake Merritt park in Oakland CA was walked and used in ritual by many practitioners
    for years until it wore away…

  • M.A.

    World-wide labyrinth locator at , don’t remember how I stumbled on this site and I’m not sure if it’s updated regularly, but it’s a place to start. There are apparently 12 within 5 miles of my zip code — who knew?

  • Gwyn

    This is brilliant! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Gwyn

    Oh, that sounds beautiful.